Explosion rocks Atlas Cove Jetty
• NEMA blames suspected oil thieves
The explosion occurred about 1.00am, Nigerian time, at the Atlas Cove Jetty, a major fuel loading and discharge facility, which is managed by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
The fire was still raging as at 10.00am, as firefighters battled it determinedly, and officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) moved to shut down pipes at the facility.
The spokesperson for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in the South-West, Mr. Ibrahim Farinloye, said that the fire came from a pipeline explosion caused by oil thieves.
Farinloye confirmed that the fire had been put out, as at the time of going to press, and NEMA officials recovered 200 jerry cans in three boats completely razed by the fire.
Efforts by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY to get a reaction from the NPA proved abortive, as the General Manager, Public Affairs, Capt. Iheanacho Ebubeogu, did respond to the calls and text to his MTN cellphone, till we went to press.
SHIPS & PORTS DAILY recalls that, early last January, an inferno had occured at one of the oil terminals at the Tin-Can Island Port Complex (TCIPC), Apapa, Lagos, which had recorded unconfirmed number of casualties.
The incident occurred when an oil barge offloading products at the MRS Jetty burst into flames and exploded.
The high decibel explosion, which happened at about 11.30am, shattered glass doors and windows of buildings as far as 500 metres away from the scene, including the NPA Administrative Building.
SHIPS & PORTS DAILY had reported then that the explosion had been caused by improper handling of the barge bringing in fuel from the mothership and offloading into the MRS tank farm.
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) had confirmed that the barge was bearing petroleum motor spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol.
The explosion, which threw the neighbourhood into a panic, resulted in stampede that left scores injured.
And when he visited scene, the NPA Managing Director, Mallam Habib Abdullahi, ordered for full investigations into the incident.
In a press release, the NPA stated then: “The blast which led to a fire outbreak on a barge was promptly curtailed by the NPA Fire Service and the Marine Department which fought the fire from the water front using the Authority’s tug boats.
“As at the time of the visit to the scene by the Managing Director, reports revealed that no life was lost.
“Investigation is to be conducted by the Health Safety and Environment department in conjunction with Marine and Fire Service to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of the incident.”
The NPA boss, according to release, “appealed to all stakeholders especially Port users to go about their normal business activities as the blast has not in any way affected port operations.”